Thoughts on Righteousness

Well, I’ve been sitting here at the computer for half an hour, waiting for God to give me some kind of words. Nothing came so I went and read blogs, and news sites, but I’m finding myself losing interest. So many lies, so much exaggeration, so much… negative and unpleasant stuff. I know my Lord is in control, know He’s allowed all that stuff, know, too, that He’s promised never to leave me nor forsake me, to provide my every need for as long as it’s His purpose that I remain on this earth.

I’m much more interested in the things we’re learning in Bible class about who we are. Particularly the idea that this righteousness we receive at salvation — God’s righteousness, not ours — is a gift. Not something we earn, not something we can improve on, not something we have in any way except as we are in union with Him. I still have it even if I’m sinning. I’m not operating in it, yes, but I still have it. Still in union with Christ even when I’m working myself into a tizzy over some situation I’m trying to control, thinking I have to control it or else…Even when I’m feeling sorry for myself or put upon, or whatever. It’s there. I’m righteous. Because I’m in union with Him and share everything He has.

But that’s my position. I want to be righteous in experience. But just wanting it doesn’t make it happen. Trying to be righteous doesn’t make it happen. In fact, if  one tries to be righteous one will unquestionably fail because… it’s a gift, for one, and two, the world’s idea of what is righteous and God’s idea of it are two different things. While you might succeed in erecting a form of righteousness, you’ll have done it from the wrong power. It’s the word of God, working its way into our souls from daily exposure to the teaching of the pastor that changes our thinking and by that enables us to experience the righteousness we’ve been given.

But what exactly is righteousness? The English word for righteousness I learned tonight, derived from “rightwiseness.” You’re right in the sense of being wise, having wisdom.

The online dictionary defines right as

1.in accordance with what is good, proper, or just.

2.in conformity with fact, reason, truth, or some standard or principle.

3.correct in judgment, opinion, or action.

4.fitting or appropriate; suitable: to say the right thing at the right time.

All those definitions relate to wisdom. You must have wisdom to ascertain what is good, proper or just. You must be wise in the ways of the Word to be in conformity to it. As a person thinks in his heart, so he is, the Bible says. Thinking is the source of speech and action. Righteousness isn’t being all glowy with power or rigidly adhering to some codex of behavior, whether the Mosaic Law or some modern-day code. It’s first of all thinking like He thinks. At salvation we’re put in union with Christ and given the ability to understand spiritual information and phenomena. But that doesn’t mean we have wisdom. Wisdom must be bought with hours and days and months and years of our lives, submitting to a Pastor’s teaching, learning more and more of what the Bible says, and through that more and more of the Lord who has saved us, and of the righteousness He has given us.

I’m learning more, too, about the importance of the filling of the Spirit. Only what’s done, said, thought in the power of the Spirit is of worth — gold, silver, precious stones. Whatever’s done in the power of the flesh is worthless. Outwardly two people can perform the same act, one from the right power, the other not. One will be rewarded, one will not.

In the same way, two people can study a particular verse, one filled with the Spirit, the other not. They will come to different conclusions. The one not filled with the Spirit cannot understand the divine meaning in the words. He will know the scripture according to the flesh, not according to God’s view.  The soulish man cannot understand the things of God. They are foolishness unto him. There is a way that seems right to a man… God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways.

Not filled with the Spirit you can study the Word all you want but you’ll never understand true righteousness. You see that the Word speaks of it, but the world has its idea of what righteousness is, and that’s what you’ll glom onto; that idea will make sense, will be comfortable, will seem right… yet it is nothing but the ways of death.

2 Timothy speaks of those who have a form of the spiritual life but deny its power (the filling of the Spirit and the inculcation of the word). They are those who are ever learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. And they use the same words as those who know the truth use. Scriptures, concepts, terms from the Word… all the same.

Well. That last thought triggered a mental explosion of sorts, thought threads running out in multiple directions… the deception of our flesh, the deception of the world, the subtlety of it all… I think I’m having a brain cramp. And it’s time for bed, so I can either  save this for tomorrow, or publish this now and hope readers won’t be too confused. Which shall it be… hmm. I seem to be getting, “Take a risk on God”. So I guess I will.

0 thoughts on “Thoughts on Righteousness

  1. William Blanton

    Dear Karen:

    Thank you for the wonderful reminder . . .It was very much needed, at exactly the right moment. I’m continually amazed at our Fathers timing, exact, even in some of the most insignificant, well maybe not so insignificant after all, times. I have, as a very good friend of mine would describe as a “propensity for the unpleasant” and that propensity seemed to be at work this morning. What is even more interesting to me is that last night I was studying Paul’s prayer to the Ephesians and how he was very impressed with their momentum; wanting to further their progress for a “Didomi Sophia” or, in the corrected translation “a life style of wisdom” in the knowledge about him; what he did for us in our port-folio (hope 1, hope 2, hope 3), and the correct, exact procedure for His plan. This is not something that is axiomatic to the thinking, and me for sure, but “propensity” and all, and with a little encouragement from an “Edge” I can confidently say: “this I recall to mind . . . .”

    Gee . . .to somehow reference these things when you are, as it were, at the end of your rope -real or imagined-and to reach into the file cabnet, that is presumably, but not necessarily in my case, organized, and apply it to the circumstances can be . . .well.

    Thanks again kid-o, perhaps I’ll have to mow your heavenly lawn some day . . .Ha . . .it’s the least that I can do.

    Reply

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